Online Pharmacies & Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription Drug Abuse
Online Pharmacies & Cybercrime
Online Pharmacies & Prescription Drug Abuse: As the Internet celebrated its 20th birthday in 2011, the growing number of people online continues to grow covering all global continents. Nielsen Online, International Telecommunications Union, GfK and Internet World Stats estimate 2.4 billion people globally are Internet users having grown by 566% from 2000-2012. Despite its already significant impact, the pace of new-technology introductions and number of Internet users continues to grow at an accelerated rate with the growth of mobile Information and Communications Technology and social networking paradigms.
Information and Communications Technology has many benefits and offers incredible opportunities in every aspect of life. Unfortunately, Information and Communications Technology also brings along harmful and destructive elements detrimental to online users and the global community. Cyber criminals, cyber bullies, cyber stalkers and online sexual predators are only a few of the nefarious groups of online predators.
A new growing epidemic is the gradual escalation of prescription drug abuse, addiction and the illegal activities involved in acquisition and distribution of these highly addictive and toxic chemicals. The question, which must be explored, is whether international online pharmacies who readily sell mood/mind altering prescription medications to American consumers without prescriptions fall into the category of cyber criminals and what this writer has coined, iPredator.
iPredator: A child, adult or group who engages in the exploitation, victimization, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology (ICT.) iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age, either gender and not bound by economic status, race or national heritage.
Access to online pharmacies has caused a rapid increase in drug abuse, addiction and the self-destructive aspects drug abuse brings to the abuser, their loved ones and the community. In the United States, prescription grade and highly addictive powerful painkillers, sedatives, stimulants, and tranquilizers can be purchased from online pharmacy sites located outside the United States.
Common Painkiller Medications
Commonly purchased and abused pharmaceuticals include opioid pain killers, such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and those containing hydrocodone (Vicodin), sedatives and tranquilizers, such as diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan) and stimulants, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), that are used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sleep disorders. These are merely a small list of the plethora of mood/mind altering prescription grade medications available online.
To generate new consumers and revenue, these rogue pharmacy websites send out millions of email solicitations a year and some do not adhere to U.S. regulations requiring a physician’s prescription for these medications. The U.S. Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act prohibits delivery of controlled substances not prescribed by a physician to consumers in America. Although the FDA has issued warnings to more than 100 online pharmacies for violations, the economic law of supply and demand trumps the FDA’s attempts to squelch this growing epidemic.
1. States with the greatest expansion in high-speed Internet access also had the largest increase in admissions for treatment of prescription drug abuse.
2. Prescription drugs are fast replacing illegal substances on college campuses across the country.
3. The recent accelerated rise in the abuse of prescription narcotic painkillers corresponds with an increase in the presence of online pharmacies.
Investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and University of Southern California (USC) found that states with the greatest development of high-speed Internet access correlated with the largest increase in admissions for treatment of prescription drug abuse.
Their findings suggested that Internet growth might partly be answerable for the increase in prescription drug abuse. Pointing to online pharmacies is their data suggesting that the recent rise in the abuse of prescription narcotic painkillers corresponds with an increase in the presence of online pharmacies.
The question remains is if these pharmacies know they are selling medications to consumers in geographic regions where it is illegal. The researchers paired data available on Internet access from the Federal Communications Commission with the number of admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities. Their data results found that each 10% increase in the availability of high-speed Internet service correlated with a 1% increase in admissions for prescription drug abuse. During the same period, admissions to treat drug and alcohol abuse either minimally increased or dropped.
Admissions for abuse of alcohol, cocaine and heroin had minimal or negative growth during the same period. Based on their results, the researchers suggested that better surveillance of online prescription drug sales was warranted and aggressive efforts to curb illegitimate online pharmacies were necessary. Respected for their research and findings, these doctors and research scientists have little understanding of the magnitude of this problem. Online pharmacies continue to grow offering painkillers, sedatives, stimulants and tranquilizers well aware they are illegal to purchase in America.
The non-medical use and abuse of prescription medications are a serious and growing public health problem in America. Senior Citizens are among those most vulnerable to prescription drug abuse or misuse because they are prescribed more medications than younger patients. Most people take prescription medications responsibly; however, an estimated 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes. Prescription drugs are the second most common abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs.